CBD store closes: Thread as long as fabric shop’s history
IT'S a sad day for sewers, quilters and craft enthusiasts with a popular Bundaberg business set to shut up shop.
Sitting on the corner of Targo and Woongarra Sts, there is almost always a handful of customers browsing the aisles at The Fabric Palette.
But the time has come for the store to say goodbye, a challenging decision that owner Julie Morgan said she wish she didn't have to make.
"I recently got very sick and was in hospital for about three months and my husband was diagnosed with cancer and went through nine long months of chemotherapy last year," Ms Morgan said.
"It was really hard but my doctor said I couldn't keep doing this so we're just taking a step back from being in such a big store like this."
After announcing the closure and dramatically marking the remaining stock down in prices, half of the store's stock has been emptied and the doors are set to shut for the last time by the end of the week.
Regular customers shared fond memories of the store, noting how devastated they were to be losing a shop they have always held close to their hearts.
"I've been working in retail for 30 years now and it really gets in your blood - I love interacting with people, I love when customers tell me about their life and each week you catch up and hear how a story has progressed in the last few days … it's like having a second family," Ms Morgan said.
"When I first started the business there were a lot of women who were low in confidence or unable to find a way to socialise with others, so I started offering classes through the business.
"This allowed participants to build their confidence, network and feel good about learning how to make things with their own two hands and I felt so privileged to witness their journey and see them transform into making things for their loved ones."
But it's not all bad news with the talented business owner, who is originally from Gladstone, continuing to offer her services online.
"I do a lot of sewing and quilt-making and I also started painting again so my plan is to make things and sell them online," Ms Morgan said.
"The classes I was offering made me realise that teaching is a huge passion of mine so when I return to Gladstone, I want to offer community and support groups, teaching single mums, victims of domestic violence or anyone who wants to learn."
Full of history, the premises once served as an auction centre and bottle shop, before it was transformed into a beautiful dress shop called Bonnie Jeans.
"A lot of my customers tell me that their mums would bring them in 40 years ago and have said how sad they are to see such an iconic store in the CBD close down," Ms Morgan said.
"Horses used to come through the front doors when it was a warehouse and they would auction off chooks in the back or farmers would come in to buy their grain.
"Bundaberg Rum took it over for a while too and used it as their bottle shop, so there is a lot of history attached to this store."
Ms Morgan said she was full of gratitude to all of her customers for showing their support over the last decade.
"It's been an incredible 10 years for me - I've had great customers and when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, they were all so supportive and that was really humbling," she said.
"From a shop point of view and from my side of the counter, I have been able to see so many people blossom and that is such a rewarding thing that I will always remember."
The business owner said it was a timely reminder for all generations to shop local and support the smaller businesses in the community.
"A lot of my customers are older but I had younger generations come through the other day saying how I had so many products that you can't find in the big chain stores, so I do encourage everyone to check out your little businesses," Ms Morgan said.
"There is a definite movement happening and Bundaberg has so much to offer, but these businesses need your support to grow - don't let those little businesses go."
The store owner said while she will be returning to Gladstone, she will continue making regular trips to Bundaberg for deliveries.
For handmade items, products or for machine repairs, follow The Fabric Palette on Facebook by clicking here.